Here’s my most recent article for BrownGirl Magazine. Quick thanks to to the guys who took the time to let me interview them and completely blew me away with their intelligent and surprisingly sweet answers.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had my “perfect guy” all figured out. He was tall, handsome, brave, romantic, hilarious, mischievous, and would whisk me away through the cornfield and into the sunset. In short, my perfect guy was Raj from Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge. Oh Raj and his artfully messy hair, his dazzling musicality, and his ability to make me go weak at the knees with just one glance. I held on to that fantasy through my adolescence, never giving a guy a chance because I assumed that they would be nothing compared to Raj. As I’ve gotten older and have met different people, I’ve come to realize how unrealistic I was. Every girl has, at one point or another, had the same fantasy. It’s this fantasy that disables us from giving real life guys a chance. A chance that isn’t biased and won’t be the cause of excruciating comparison on the “perfect guy” checklist.
These real life guys deserve the opportunity to have a fighting chance against the legend that is the “perfect guy”; I’m going to give it to them. I asked six guys for their perspective on girls, dating, and what matters most. What you’ll notice is that, unlike us, they don’t have a mental checklist for their ideal woman. These guys are blunt and raw, but they know what they want. They understand that it’s important to have realistic expectations instead of holding on to unrealistic fantasies. Something some of us, myself included at times, would do well to learn from. So without further ado, I give you the BrownGuys!
When asked what qualities they look for in a girl, the guys had this to say:
“Personality before looks always, however I do definitely need to be physically attracted to the girl…humble is also a must.” -Nikhil P.
“…The absolute most important thing in a woman is how smart she is. Not necessarily book smart, but [she] has common sense, can hold a conversation, is aware of the world around her, has her own opinions, basically the confidence of knowing who she is.”-Afzal F.
“She should have passion for something; something she’ll think is even more important to her than I am.”-Sanil P.
“A girl who likes cheesy Indian love stories…a girl that can be not only my girlfriend, but my best friend. Someone who will talk things through with me and hold my hand.”-Nihar S.
“If she’s the same type of sign as me I think that helps a lot…I’m a fire sign, and over the years I’ve noticed I get along amazingly well with girls that are also fire signs.”-Arnand G.
“Physically, a good healthy body does it…and that doesn’t necessarily mean she has to have a slender body either. If she hits up the gym, she’s considered fit to me, at least she’s on the right track to being healthy.”-Hemesh P.
I questioned the guys about the qualities that turn them off in a girl and here’s what they had to say:
“Dishonesty in a girl. She needs to be honest with me no matter what, even if I don’t like it because the little lies hurt just as much as the big ones.”-Sanil P.
“Girls who are incredibly stubborn and do not want to compromise.”-Afzal F.
“It’s a huge turn off if they make the guy do everything: pay for everything and take the blame for everything.”-Hemesh P.
“Gossipers and spoiled girls that think the world revolves around them.”-Arnand G.
“Even the most physically attractive girl looks ugly in my eyes when she acts like she’s above everyone else.”-Nikhil P.
“A girl who doesn’t trust me and gets jealous.”-Nihar S.
I was curious to find out of culture and religion really matter to guys the way they matter to us girls and I was surprised by the overwhelming response:
“When dating a girl, culture and religion don’t matter that much to me because dating is more about learning about relationships and yourself. For marriage I think it’s important, because I want my kids to be raised in a culturally cohesive household.”-Nihar S.
“Culture and religion matter in marriage, but not so much in dating. I’ve dated two Muslim girls and they were my longest relationships….I like the qualities they had.”-Arnand G.
“To me, it does not fully matter… ‘In love’, culture and religion do help in sharing common experiences and forging a life long bond.”-Nikhil P.
“I don’t date a girl unless I see long-term potential, so culture and religion are important. My family has to like and get along with the girl I marry, so her being the same culture and religion makes sense to me.”-Sanil P.
“I think culture matters, it’s great to be rooted in something. Religion wise, I don’t care as long as they can keep it separate from me. I would never convert just to be with someone..they have to be able to accept me for who I am, not what I believe in.”-Hemesh P.
“…They do say love is blind, so if you happen to understand the other person and are willing to be patient and accepting, then no, it doesn’t matter.”-Afzal F.
I asked the BrownGuys their thoughts on their traditional roles as pursuers, and was pleasantly pleased by the answers I received:
“I like to be pursued a little and like to do the pursuing when I really like a girl.”-Arnand G.
“Plain and simple, I like to be pursued. I hate how society has always had it so the guy should make all the moves. I like the idea that a girl can make the moves too!”-Hemesh P.
“I like to pursue a girl, but I also like it when she makes an effort back so that I know that she cares and wants to be with me also.”-Nihar S.
“I like to pursue for the most part, but being pursued a little doesn’t hurt either…I like working for it. Makes it all worth while for me.”-Nikhil P.
“I love to be pursued. It’s about time we got some of the attention!”-Afzal F.
“I like to pursue a girl. If she pursues me, it turns me away because it makes it seem shes more interested than I am.”-Sanil P.
Last, but definitely not least, I asked these lovely BrownGuys if they had any advice for the readers of BrownGirl Magazine who are still fantasizing about their “perfect guy” and disregarding real life guys. Here’s what they had to say:
“To be honest, if there is one thing to remember ladies it’s this: we’re more afraid of you than you are of us, don’t play too hard to get, and be patient with your men. Sometimes we’re not very bright and need things spelled out to us very slowly.”-Afzal F.
“Be realistic about what you want and be willing to compromise. Accept the guy for who he is and don’t try to change him, because in the long run, you’ll just hurt yourself and him.”-Nihar S.
“Too often brown girls feel outside pressure to get married so they settle for a guy that doesn’t make them happy. Take your time finding the one…don’t hold back just because your ancestors wouldn’t have done it. This is America, and eventually everyone is going to be part of a mixed race, might as well start with someone you love and makes you happy.”-Arnand G.
“Don’t go for the quick fling, wait for someone that has potential.”-Sanil P.
“First and foremost, don’t ever try to be someone you’re not! Don’t be too picky, not every guy is going to be able to receive a check next to every box on your list of the perfect guy. I think that girls should roll the dice and take chances…”-Hemesh P.
I always thought that we girls were more sensible, accepting, and compromising, but the BrownGuys have completely proved me wrong. I believe that as time has gone on, girls have hardened their hearts and become more materialistic and shallow (for lack of better words) to keep up with the guys. The guys on the other hand, have become more responsible and nurturing. We’re a judgmental gender that prided ourselves on the “personality before looks” concept, but I fear some of us have lost sight of that. The BrownGuys, as well as other guys I know, all look for substance in a girl over everything else. I, for one, am done dreaming about Raj, I think I’ll take a BrownGuy instead.